One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at ClearanceJobs.com is – how can I tell if my security clearance is still current? With a dwindling cleared population an active clearance and up-to-date background investigation are serious assets. Keenan Williams wrote about this topic several years ago for the 355th FW/IP. He says it well:

To support the Air Force’s global mission, you must commit to maintaining your personnel readiness.┬áSo, your immunizations are current, you have a solid family care plan in place and your finances are squared away, but are you really prepared to deploy and support the global mission? Have you forgotten anything? What about your security clearance? Is it current?

When it comes to whether or not your security clearance is current, many individuals simply consider how long their break from federal service is. If you’ve been separated from the position which required your security clearance for less than 24-months, your security clearance is not considered expired, and you can be easily reinstated into a cleared position.

But the date of your last periodic reinvestigation (PR) is incredibly important, and a serious concern for many cleared personnel considering the ongoing backlog in PRs.

The upside? As Williams reported:

According to Department of Defense directive 5200.2-R, Personnel Security Program, “A clearance or access entry in the [Defense Clearance and Investigations Index] shall not be suspended or downgraded based solely on the fact that a periodic reinvestigation was not conducted precisely within the 5-year time period for TOP SECRET/[SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION] or within the period prevailing for SECRET clearances under departmental policy. While every effort should be made to ensure that PRs are conducted within the prescribed timeframe, agencies must be flexible in their administration of this aspect of the personnel security program so as not to undermine the ability of the Department of Defense to accomplish its mission.”

Currently, secret PRs are conducted every 10 years and top secret PRs every 5 years. Security clearance reform efforts are putting the emphasis on continuous monitoring, which continues to be rolled out within more organizations. Speculation is that as continuous monitoring becomes the norm, periodic reinvestigations may go away – but that’s not the case today.

What can you do to ensure your security clearance stays active? Know the date of your last periodic reinvestigation, and be in touch with your facility security officer approximately 60 days before your investigation is due.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.